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  • Writer's pictureSophie Meronek

BBQ and Politics

With the caucuses ending, I wanted to return to my first political event of the cycle.  On September 15, I attended my first candidate event for the 2024 cycle. I would not have imagined walking into a BBQ joint to see a presidential candidate, but there is a first for everything. I arrived at Jethro’s BBQ n’ Bacon around 8 am, thinking I was early and there would not be that many people. Boy, was I wrong; there were barely any seats left in the main room, but I could find a seat at a table with a few Iowans. Before I go any further, this main room was shaped almost like an L. Two hallway-like areas met in a corner where Nikki Haley would be. Each room had tables against the walls, leaving little space to walk. Now, because there was not much space, I was lucky to gain a seat; otherwise, I would have had to be seated in the overflow room. I also got lucky with the chair I was in since I was in the second row of tables closest to Nikki Haley. This gave me an amazing viewpoint of her while she was speaking.

While waiting for Nikki Haley, I met three other Iowans who had experiences with the caucuses. One was a Democrat intrigued by Nikki Haley and saw the possibility of caucuses for her. After waiting for Nikki Haley to enter, clapping came from the overflow room. As I tried to look out into the room, I caught glimpses of Nikki Haley as she entered the main room and onto the small podium.

Nikki Haley seemed prepared for the event. During her speech, she touched upon many policies, such as bringing jobs back to the US, holding politicians and Congress accountable, and re-establishing the US on the international playing field. During her speech, many attendees were interested and agreed with her standpoints. There were multiple points with a chorus of applause and cheers. Granted, I was a little distracted.

The TV showed some pre-game shows for the upcoming football games during the event. The funny thing was that the stage was right in front of a few of the TVs, providing some funny moments. For example, near the event's end, a sign pictured Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson hugging a rock. The sign also had the caption “The Rock Loves Boulder,” which was hilarious. There were some other moments that I missed or I cannot remember seeing. Many of the signs being shown had something to do with the teams playing that day. In all honesty, I do not know much about college football. 

At the end of the event, a rush of people was trying to get up to her. I wasn’t entirely used to this aspect of political events because I hadn’t participated in many. When I finally got up by her, someone was kind enough to take my phone and capture a photo with the prospective presidents. Since I had not attended many events in Wisconsin or Iowa, this was my first photo with a presidential candidate.


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